March 14, 2006 Scientists demonstrated a brain-computer interface that translates brain signals into computer control signals this week at CeBIT in Berlin. The initial project demonstrates how a paralysed patient could communicate by using a mental typewriter alone – without touching the keyboard. In the case of serious accident or illness, a patient’s limbs can be paralyzed, severely restricting communication with the outside world. The interface is already showing how it can help these patients to write texts and thus communicate with their environment. There’s also a PONG game (computer tennis) used to demonstrate how the interface can be used. Brain Pong involves two BBCI users playing a game of teletennis in which the “rackets” are controlled by imagining movements and predictably the general media has focussed the majority of its attention on computer gaming applications but BCCI could equally be used in safety technologies (e.g. in automobiles for monitoring cognitive driver stress), in controlling prostheses, wheelchairs, instruments and even machinery.
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